Opel Astra Hatch 1.6 Review
Whole new world

Story by Justin Lee photos by Justin Lee and Raymond Lai
19 Jan 2011

Before Volkswagen started to ramp up its focus on the local market, the European/German option for a moderately-priced 1.6-litre family car has been the Opel Astra. With the latest version of the Astra, it is quite clear that Opel is not taking things lying down, and the new Astra shows that it can defend its turf by moving upmarket.

A great looker

The first thing that strikes you about the new Astra - known internally as the Astra J, the 10th generation model, if you include the Kadett range, which the Astra replaced - is how good it looks, especially for a mid-sized 5-door hatchback. The hatchbacks in this segment are usually too large to look cute, yet not large enough to look sleek and stylish.

This is not the case with the Astra - from the pointed front end and shapely tear-drop shaped headlamps at the front to the gently tapering wrap around rear screen and Alfa Romeo-styled rear lamps, it's as if a skin was pulled over the chassis and passenger area. And just to give the Astra a hint of aggressiveness and stability, the bodywork bulges at each corner with a flared blister around each wheel. These blisters also give the Astra a nice, broad-shouldered look, which none of its rivals have.

There are many styling elements that the Astra J shares with the other mid-sized hatchbacks such as the Mazda 3 and Subaru Impreza - the flicked up belt line that matches up to the leading edge of the wrap around rear screen, for example. Where the Japanese cars seem to look awkward - either the roof is too long (Mazda 3), or too short (Subaru), everything comes together beautifully in the Astra. It really feels that the designers at Opel's Russelshiem studios in Germany, all dressed in black turtlenecks and wearing suede shoes, spent hours sculpting the bodywork of Astra just to get everything right.

Park the Astra next to Honda Civic, one of the more stylish cars around, and you'll also notice how similar they are, especially the angle and shape of the windscreen, and the angle of rake of the A-pillars.


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Engine Capacity 1598cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 10.8:1
Bore x Stroke (79 x 81.5)mm
Power 115bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 155Nm @ 4000rpm
Power to Weight 83.8 bhp per ton


Acceleration 13.3s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 182 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 14.1 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Auto
Drive Type FF


Body Type 5 Door Hatch
(L x W x H)
(4419 x 1814 x 1510) mm
Wheelbase 2685 mm
Turning Circle 11.4 metres
Kerb Weight 1373 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 56 L